Edel Rodriguez

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Edel Rodriguez
Born (1971-08-22) August 22, 1971 (age 46)
Havana, Cuba, Cuba
Education BFA, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York, 1994
MFA, Hunter College, 1998
Known for illustration, fine artist

Edel Rodriguez (born August 22, 1971 in Havana, Cuba) is a Cuban American artist. He is a Cuban born American illustrator/artist and children's book author. He uses a variety of materials, his work ranges from conceptual to portraiture and landscape. Socialist propaganda and western advertising, island culture and contemporary city life, are all aspects of his life that inform his work.

Early life and education[edit]

Rodriguez arrived in the United States during the Mariel boatlift crisis.

Until the age of 9, Rodriguez lived in the Cuban countryside town of El Gabriel. In an interview conducted by Yuko Shimizu, Rodriguez described his earliest visual influences as military, revolutionary and nationalist imagery.[1] In 1980 Rodriguez emigrated to the United States with his father, Cesareo Rodriguez mother, Coralia Rodriguez and sister Irma as one of the thousands of Cubans who took part in the Mariel boatlift.[2] His family of four arrived in Key West and as the Cuban government had taken possession of the families home, car, furniture and even clothes, the Rodriguez family had little to start a new life with. The family moved in with relatives in Miami, Florida where Edel's father established a trucking business. Within a couple of years of arriving in the United States, Rodriguez had mastered the language to the point that he became a Spelling Bee champion.[3] Rodriguez graduated from Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School in 1990.

After graduation from High School, Rodriguez declined a full scholarship to The University of Miami and instead attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. While a student at Pratt, the artist interned at Spy magazine, MTV and Penguin Books.[4] After graduating from Pratt with honors and earning a BFA on a full scholarship in painting. Rodriguez went on to earn a M.F.A. from Hunter College in 1998.[5]

In 1991, Rodriguez met Jennifer Roth, and the two would become married in 1997.[6]


In 1994 Rodriguez began work as an Art Director for Time magazine. At 26 years of age, the artist was the youngest art director to ever work on the Time's Canadian and Latin American editions.[4] He would hold this position until 2008, when he began dedicating all of his time to personal art works and commercial illustration. While working at Time, Rodriguez produced a significant amount of illustration work, the majority of which was done in the evenings.[1] Some of the more memorable commercial works produced during this period were his June 27, 2005 Time magazine cover for China's New Revolution [1] in which Mao Zedong is depicted wearing Louis Vuitton and his May/June 2006 cover for Communication Arts [2] depicting Che Guevara wearing a Nike logo and Apple headphones. The Time cover depicting Mao Zedong was later used in 2009 as the cover for Lürzer's 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide.

Throughout his career, Rodriguez has utilized a variety of artistic mediums to produce his final works, which vary from very linear, soft and subtle works, to other works that achieve a bolder, more graphic sensibility. Rodriguez applies a combination of mediums including paint, printmaking, pastel, line drawing as well as digital manipulation.[1]

In the course of his career as a commercial illustrator Rodriguez' work has been published by a great number of nationally and internationally distributed magazines such as The New Yorker, Time, Rolling Stone, Fortune and others. Rodriguez' work has also been used by corporate clients such as MTV, Pepsi Inc and others.[5] Rodriguez' work also appears regularly on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times.[7]

In 2005, the U.S. Postal Service released the Cha-Cha-Cha stamp, illustrated by Rodriguez.[3]

Artistic Approach[edit]

Rodriguez believes that illustrations have the ability to influence and inspire people in a way that words can not, because they can tell a complicated story in a simple way.[8]

In the News[edit]

For the 2015 February 8 issue of Newsweek, the cover story by Nina Burleigh was illustrated by Rodriguez.[9] The cover image, portraying a woman with her skirt being lifted up by a computer cursor created controversy,[10] with some calling it a faceless and sexualized symbol of women.[11] The cover image also created what NBC News described as a "firestorm" on Twitter, after the website Jezebel derided the illustration.[12] Others considered the cover image appropriate to the subject matter of the article.[13] Burleigh, the author of the article on which the illustration was based described the critical comments as petty.[14] On PBS, the artist defended the work saying "it’s not sexist, it depicts the ugliness of sexism".[15]

For the 2016 August 22 issue of Time, editor-in-chief Nancy Gibbs focused their cover on Republican Donald Trump's presidential campaign, with the cover title Meltdown and DW Pine commissioned Rodriguez for the cover illustration.[16][17] The cover appeared on various news broadcasts, including PBS[18] and MSNBC,[19] as well as generating news coverage in such magazines and newspapers as The Washington Post[20] and People[21]

For the February 4, 2017 issue of Der Spiegel, the artists cover image depicting President Donald Trump holding the Statue of Liberty's severed head in one hand and a knife in the other, with the cover title America First[3] generated news coverage in such publications as The Washington Post,[22] The Guardian,[23] Newsweek[24] and other news outlets. The cover image was described as tasteless by vice-president of the European Parliament, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff[25] and defended by Der Spiegel editor-in-chief Klaus Brinkbaeumer, who commented that he was surprised by the impact of the illustration.[23]

The August 28th, 2017 issue of Time Magazine, titled Hate in America focused on a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia,[26] that resulted in the death of 2 police officers and a 32 year old women.[27] Illustrated by Rodriguez[4],[28] the cover art, depicting a protester giving a Nazi salute while draped in an American flag was covered in the news by CNN[29] and Market Watch[30] as well as other media outlets.[31]

Theatrical posters[edit]

Film posters[edit]

  • Celia the Queen directed by Joe Cardona, Mario de Varona (2008), with Celia Cruz, David Byrne, Wyclef Jean, Quincy Jones, Narciso Rodriguez
  • Heaven on Earth directed by Deepa Mehta, (2008), starring Preity Zinta
  • Reportero directed by Bernardo Ruiz
  • The Graduates/Los Graduados PBS documentary directed by Bernardo Ruiz (2013)[6]

Book covers[edit]

Children's book illustrator[edit]

Children's book author and illustrator[edit]

Art exhibitions[edit]

  • Dystopia, solo exhibition at Curly Tale Fine Art, Chicago, 2013[34]
  • Here | There, solo exhibition at Gallery Nucleus, 2010[35]
  • Curator Power Pens: The Art of Politics, Society of Illustrators (2008)[36]

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Illustration Friday Interview". Archived from the original on October 22, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-13. 
  2. ^ "Pippin Properties Biography". Retrieved 2013-04-13. 
  3. ^ a b "American Institute of Graphic Arts Biography". Retrieved 2013-04-13. 
  4. ^ a b "Edel Rodriguez". AIGA. Retrieved 2016-10-04. 
  5. ^ a b "Illoz Biography". Retrieved 2013-04-13. 
  6. ^ Heller, Steven; Fernandes, Teresa (2010). Becoming a Graphic Designer. John Wiley & Sons. p. 275. 
  7. ^ Kraus, Jerelle (2012). All The Art That's Fit To Print. Columbia University Press. p. 237. 
  8. ^ Frank, Priscilla. "Anti-Trump Illustrator Is A Cuban Immigrant Who Knows What A Dictator Looks Like". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-02-10. 
  9. ^ "Newsweek Feb 8 2015 issue". Newsweek. Retrieved 2016-10-03. 
  10. ^ Sklar, Rachelle. "Sexism still alive and well in Silicon Valley (and on Newsweek cover)". Today. Retrieved 2016-10-03. 
  11. ^ Tsotsis, Alexia. "What (Some) Silicon Valley Women Think Of Newsweek". Tech Crunch. Retrieved 2016-10-03. 
  12. ^ Bhattacharjee, Riya. ""Ugh! That Newsweek Cover": Silicon Valley Women Respond". KNTV. Retrieved 2016-10-03. 
  13. ^ Alba, Alejandro. "Newsweek's cover story about sexism in Silicon Valley sparks controversy". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2016-10-03. 
  14. ^ Brekke, Kira. "Newsweek Correspondent: Outrage Over Latest February Cover Is 'Petty'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-10-03. 
  15. ^ Tam, Ruth. "Artist behind Newsweek cover". PBS Newshour. Retrieved 2016-10-03. 
  16. ^ "Meltdown". Time. Retrieved 2016-10-03. 
  17. ^ Welton, Casey. "The Cover Story: Time Captures Trump's Meltdown". min. Retrieved 2016-10-03. 
  18. ^ Donald Trump's meltdown, the debate over debates and Walmart moms face tough choice. PBS. August 12, 2016 – via YouTube. 
  19. ^ Time puts Trump's 'meltdown' front and center. Morning Joe. MSNBC. August 11, 2016. 
  20. ^ Borchers, Callum. "Donald Trump should hate this Time magazine cover, but he'll probably hang it in his office". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-10-03. 
  21. ^ McAfee, Tierney. "Inside Trump's Meltdown". People Magazine. Retrieved 2016-10-03. 
  22. ^ Borchers, Callum. "This Der Spiegel Trump cover is stunning". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  23. ^ a b "German magazine defends cover of Trump beheading Statue of Liberty". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-02-04. 
  24. ^ "Der Spiegel: Trump Beheading Cover Aabout 'Defending Democracy'". Newsweek. Reuters. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  25. ^ "Der Spiegel: Trump beheading cover sparks criticism". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  26. ^ Dwyer, Colin. "Charlottesville Rally Aimed To Defend A Confederate Statue. It May Have Doomed Others". NPR. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  27. ^ Bowman, Emma. "Charlottesville Victim Heather Heyer 'Stood Up' Against What She Felt Was Wrong". NPR. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  28. ^ Pine, DJ. "Behind TIME's 'Hate in America' Cover". Time. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  29. ^ Wattles, Jackie. "Top magazines take on Trump and hate". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2017-08-17. 
  30. ^ Murphy, Mike. "Hate in America: 3 devastating magazine covers on Charlottesville's aftermath". Market Watch. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  31. ^ "In new issue, Time Magazine looks at 'Hate in America'". MSNBC. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  32. ^ a b c "Edel Rodriguez's theater posters". April 1, 2008. 
  33. ^ a b c "Theatre Posters by Edel Rodriguez". April 8, 2009. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. 
  34. ^ "Curly Tale Fine Art". 
  35. ^ "Gallery Nucleus". February 20, 2010. 
  36. ^ Amid Capeci (December 8, 2008). "Society of Publication Designers". 
  37. ^ "Society of Illustrators Annual Awards". Retrieved 2013-05-11. 
  38. ^ "Art Directors Club Annual Awards". Archived from the original on May 10, 2013. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  39. ^ "American Society of Magazine Editors". Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  40. ^ "The Most Creative People of the Year". Advertising Age. Retrieved 2016-12-20. 

External links[edit]